19 Nov 2016

Australia's tough stance on refugees will cost it - UN official

8:28 am on 19 November 2016

A United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights, Francois Crepeau, says he does not see the point in Australia's intention to never allow refugees who arrived by boat into the country.

Canberra has said any refugees who tried to reach the country irregularly by boat and who are accepted by other nations would never be allowed to travel to Australia.

Mr Crepeau has just finished an official assessment of Australia's treatment of refugees and says its policies have tarnished the country's reputation.

He said Australia would be the loser if it maintained its position to never let these refugees into the country.

"I don't see the point of that punitive approach. It doesn't help anything," he said.

"It doesn't change the lives of people. It will just deprive Australia of the benefit of people who would be successfully resettled elsewhere."

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights, Francois Crepeau attends a press conference in Doha in 2013

UN Special Rapporteur Francois Crepeau Photo: AFP